Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Peoples Republic of Vermont
A couple comments...
First, about the blocks. From the first 6-bolt blocks installed in '64 to the last V8 Explorer 5.0, the blocks are pretty much interchangeable and share the same external dimensions between 289's, 302's and 5.0's. The biggest differences between them are dipstick location (some have a dipstick hole in the block, some do not), the presence (or not) of the clutch equalizer bar pivot boss (there are adapters for the 5.0's that are missing them), the type of rear main crankshaft seal used (2-piece or 1-piece) and, in turn, the crankshaft rear oil slinger, and the raised lifter bores for the capacity to install roller lifters in blocks from '85 and up.
If you want to build a 289, you can do so with a late 5.0 block by using a 289 crankshaft and machining off the oil slinger (so it matches the 1-piece rear seal block) and using the 289 connecting rods and pistons. If you want to build a 302, 331 or 347 you can do that in any of the blocks by using the correct crankshaft for the application.
Finding 289 and 302 blocks out there that are TRULY standard bore are getting harder and harder to find. Finding a 5.0 block is much easier. Cylinder wear is markedly less due to low tension rings and reduced engine speeds due to overdrive transmissions. There are also TONS of 5.0 blocks out there and if you're going to replace the heads ANYWAY, you can still find babied < '90-91 Crown Vics, Grand Marquis and Town Cars with decent mileage that show virtually no cylinder wear.
If you're buying a block from ANYBODY who claims it's a "standard bore" then I'd want to see the bore and taper measurements, on a piece of paper, with an understanding if the block needs anything more than a .020" overbore the seller pays for the block inspection and you get your money back.... either that or buy/rent/borrow a bore micrometer and check it out when you go to look at it.
On the question of 351W/5.8 blocks... If you're looking for lots more than the 8.2" deck small block can provide both now and down the road, then a 351W/5.8 makes a lot of sense. Stock, it has the longer stroke which gives much better torque capability and with potential displacements up to 427 cubic inches (and larger) it definitely has "expandability". The stock 351W is about 65# heavier than a stock 289 so when you pop on a pair of aluminum heads, an aluminum intake, some headers and an aluminum water pump you're coming in lighter than a stock 289. The "deficiencies" as they may be called, are the lack of room for changing plugs in a '65-66... which can be made better with adjustable engine mounts. With the 351W you're pretty much S.O.L. if you want to run a Borgeson steering box and you will probably have to do some clutch equalizer bar "fabrication" to get it to clear the headers properly, or go to a hydraulic setup.
Other than that....... it would be neat to see a 2.3 Turbo in a '65-66.....
What, me worry?
- Alfred E. Neuman